Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SURVIVORSHIP SUPERHERO - "CAREER AFTER CANCER"

Click to see VIDEO
Lisa Vento Nielsen, MBA, PMP has been a lot of things in her life - from author to expert to mom to small business owner, to professor, to executive, to entrepreneur but the one thing she never ever planned for or thought she could be was a cancer patient.  She was diagnosed suddenly at 39 years old without a lump, family history or risk factors and if it was not for her screening mammograms, which began at 35 because her insurance covered it, she might not be here today.

Her cancer was stage 3 and aggressive, her children were 6 and 9 and she was their whole world. She had just found a full time teaching job after leaving Corporate America in late 2009 to focus on her family and teaching at local colleges and universities as an adjunct. Cancer did not care about any of that - nor did her colleagues or boss, to be honest.

Despite bringing 10+ years of Corporate Executive level experience to the small classroom and 13+ years of teaching College, books she had written and entrepreneurial expertise, she fell apart and was lucky she could function.  She was ashamed and hid her illness as best as someone with no hair, one boob and chemotherapy biweekly appointments could anyway. “The hardest thing for me was losing my voice and being ashamed and afraid all of the time of the cancer, balancing work and trying to keep my children calm and cared for…”

The day after her last chemo, she was let go from her job and found her voice. She began blogging anonymously at first and then went public in a big way and found that not only was her story important but so was her unique skills and capabilities. As a resume and job search expert with over 20 years experience helping people take “the next step” she thought getting back to work would be “easy” and took it upon herself to begin thinking about how to help others who have experienced cancer do the same.  She met countless others who also were fired, laid off or had to take time off of work to deal with treatment. She also met families whose primary breadwinner had to stop working and others in the family had to step out of their comfort zones and find work to keep things afloat.

Despite having written books about how to be entrepreneurial in a job search, Lisa was lost as to how to actually get a new position. Her body had changed, her hair was in a style she never would have picked for herself and she was missing a body part - but most important is that her priorities and perspectives had changed so much she did not know how to sit in an interview and pretend that this job was so important and not mention how chemotherapy still affected her or how her new body was hard to get used to… And others were echoing her thoughts and also struggling with this new “normal”.

You attend your last cancer treatment visit and the doctor tells you to go get back to “normal” but normal was moved for Lisa and others who have been told, “you have cancer” - and this also has a ripple effect to others in the home and family - it is not just the patient who has cancer but everyone in the family.

Lisa decided that instead of finding a job for herself, she would create one. She founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called “The Time Between Is, INC” after her popular blog page with over 1million page views and 1400-2000 people per week checking in with her and launched Career After Cancer.  The first thing she did was create some FREE webinars to introduce the subject and to write a book and a workbook to help empower people to get back to work or volunteering or something to make their “after” more “normal”. She is launching online courses and in person training in addition to one on one coaching and she is open to any and all partnerships in the community of cancer patients and their families to help with her unique and informative training and insights into branding and getting folks back to work.

Her nonprofit website is thetimebetweenis.org or you can learn more about her initiative at careeraftercancer.com. If you would like to have her speak at your event or organization, sign up here lisaventonielsen.com.

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Awareness for a Cure (supporting members):
Editors: Carmen Regallo-Dewitt / Laguna Del Fuego
Co-Editor: Laurel Muckey of Integrative Medicine of NY (www.imofny.com)
Co-Editor: Dr. Jesse A. Stoff of Stoff Institute for Medical Research
Production / Editor - IntermediaWorx inc. (www.imworx.com)
Technical Support: Early Detection & Prevention program: (www.bardcancerdetection.com)


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